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'Into the Wild,' and onto the stage?

If you didn't know better, you might have imagined you were somewhere in La-La Land. … But sure enough, there they were - two Oscar-winning actors, William Hurt and Sean Penn, huddling together over coffee this Monday at the Benson. … Penn, as all good Portlanders should know by now, is here directing a movie called 'Into the Wild,' about a young guy who wanders off into the Alaskan wilderness. … And Hurt? Penn talked him into accepting a supporting role as the young guy's father. … While in P-town, Hurt's also taking the opportunity to meet with his old friend Allen Nause, artistic director of Artists Repertory Theatre, about doing something for the local theater company again. … ART spokeswoman Trisha Pancio Armour isn't prepared yet to say just what it is, 'but it'll be very exciting for Portland.'

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Dick Lawson, president of the company that owns and operates the gay bathhouse across from Jake's Famous Crawfish, wishes to assure everyone that his building has not been sold, as reported in this space a couple of weeks ago. … Meanwhile, knowledgeable sources at City Hall continue to insist that property mogul Greg Goodman and the real estate firm Gerding/Edlen have purchased an option on the building. … Not surprisingly, the deal - or lack thereof - has created a stir in the local gay and lesbian community, which looks upon the property, which also houses the nightclub Silverado, as part of Portland's 'gay triangle.' … So is there a deal or not? … In the latest issue of Just Out, Lawson answers the question by saying he doesn't consider anything a deal until he's got the money in his pocket. Fair enough. … And whatever happens, says Silverado manager Don Sexton, he's got a long-term lease, so he's not going anywhere 'unless someone pays me a whole lot of money.'

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Local jazz purists are up in arms over what they see as an underhanded attempt by KMHD (FM 89.1) brass to depart from the station's all-jazz format. … Not to worry, says station manager Doug Sweet. 'I'm just trying to find a way to appeal to some of our younger listeners out there.' Say, all those under 75? … Hollywood boulevardier Stephen Sasser has been keeping tabs on eBay sales of the Rodney McCray 'bobble fence' doll, which was handed out to the first 2,000 Beaver fans at a game this August at PGE Park. … When bidding closed this week, he says, they were going for $85 plus shipping and handling. … McCray, of course, is the outfielder who's made all the wacky sports highlight clips since May 1991 when he crashed through the right-field fence while chasing a fly ball at what was then Civic Stadium. … McCray says his only regret is that he didn't plow into something like a Coca-Cola sign, so maybe he could at least have gotten some endorsements out of the deal. … And finally, one more time around for my pal Boats Johnson, to whom this Sunday's 'Laugh Night' at Jimmy Mak's is being dedicated. … Sounds like a can't-miss night: Local comics Dwight Slade, Dave Anderson, Rick Reynolds, along with Will Durst - and of course Boats Johnson, whose baldheaded spirit will be hovering above it all, chuckling, no doubt, at everything. … Boats died two years ago after a long bout with cancer. Funny, isn't it, how you just don't get over missing some people.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone, 503-546-5166, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..